President Obama said on Monday that fears of an approaching war with Iran have driven up the price of gas.
"The biggest driver of these high gas prices is speculation about possible war in the Middle East, which is why we've been trying to reduce some of the loose talk about war there," the president said during an interview with an ABC affiliate in Orlando, FL.
The president made similar remarks last week when he criticized what he called the "loose talk of war" made by pundits and politicians in regards to Iran. The president took special care to single out the “casualness” with which some of the GOP presidential candidates have talked about armed conflict in the Middle East.
“This is not a game. There’s nothing casual about it,” President Obama said last week.
During Monday’s interview, the president repeated familiar themes, including the oft-repeated line that America “can’t drill its way out of its energy problems,” and said that tougher fuel economy regulations and green energy programs would help curb the nation’s demand for oil.
The president said he “understands why people might give him low marks” for high gas prices but he stands by his energy policies, The Hill’s Andrew Restuccia and Ben Geman report.
“As long as gas prices are going up, people are going to feel like I’m not doing enough and I understand that because people get hurt when they are going to that gas station and seeing those prices rise every day,” President Obama said.
According to Restuccia and Geman, federal policymakers have “limited options to lower gas prices in the short term,” because they are set to oil prices, which are set on world markets.
“Obviously what we want to do is get gas prices as low as we can, as quickly as we can, but the most important thing in order to do that is to reduce our demand of oil,” the president said.
Perhaps for good measure, the president made sure to repeat his “long-standing” opposition to the oil industry's tax breaks.
“[T]here is no reason why we should be subsidizing the oil companies by $4 billion dollars every single year, money that we could better use to continue to invest in the alternative energy future that is going to be so important,” he said.